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Auction Date: April 20, 2012

Lot 3174: Colt - 1861/72 Navy Cartridge

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Serial Number 1 Exhibition Engraved and Cased Colt Navy Cartridge Revolver Presented by Colt to Lewis Sheldon Colt Paymaster During the Civil War
Estimated Price: $1 - $1
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Serial #Colt - 1861/72 Navy Cartridge ManufacturerColt Model1861/72 Navy Cartridge
TypeRevolver Gauge38 RF Catalog Page166
Barrel7 1/2 Inch Round FinishNickel GripWalnut
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is yet another example of the magnificent Colts that Rock Island Auction brings to the collector. This extraordinary Colt revolver, serial number 1, is factory cased and exhibition engraved and was presented by Colt to Lewis Sheldon on December 1, 1871. Lewis Sheldon (1824-1880) was the bookkeeper and paymaster of Colt's Hartford factory and was employed by Colt from around 1863 until 1871. This revolver is inscribed and was presented to Lewis Sheldon when he left Colt and remained in possession of Sheldon or his direct family for 141 years until it was placed on consignment with the Rock Island Auction Company. The revolver has a nickel-plated finish and is fitted with a one-piece, deluxe, highly figured, piano finish walnut grip. The trigger and screws are niter blue. The back strap is engraved with the inscription "Lewis Sheldon/With Compliments of Colts P.F.A. Mfg. Co. Dec. 1st 1871." in two lines on the back strap. The revolver is engraved with bold Germanic scrollwork on a punch-dot background. The scrollwork covers the sides and top of the barrel, the underside of the muzzle, the entire frame, conversion ring and loading gate, the sides and top of the hammer, bottom of the trigger guard and the back strap top and butt. Scallop and punch-dot borders are engraved on the edges of the cylinder and the muzzle which form a panel around the barrel address. The plugs in the loading lever and plunger channels are decorated with cross-hatch and dot engraving. "Fish fin" engraving surrounds the serial number on the bottom of the barrel lug. The letter "E" is stamped above the serial number on the barrel lug and below the serial number on the frame, trigger guard and back strap. The "E" indicates that the component was designated by Colt for engraving and special finish. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped "-ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-" in an engraved panel. The cylinder is roll-engraved with the Texas Navy battle scene, "COLTS PATENT No." and "ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843" along the edge of the cylinder. The serial number "1" is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard and back strap. The assembly number "196" is stamped on the back of the loading gate. This revolver is an original metallic cartridge Model 1861 Navy revolver chambered for the .38 rimfire cartridge. The ejector housing has a round ejector tip and ejector head with concentric circles on the face. The wedge is the early style percussion type with spring. The loading gate has an internal spring. The frame has the small percussion hammer screw. The rimfire hammer has bordered, underlined knurling on the spur. The trigger guard is the large oval type. The factory oak case has scalloped, nickel-silver reinforcements on the corners. The center of the lid is inlaid with a scalloped silver plate with dot-and-scallop borders engraved "LEWIS SHELDON/1871" in Old English script. The case has a royal blue velvet lining with four compartments. The case is complete with an L-shaped screw-driver and two 50-round boxes of "38/100" caliber cartridges. One box of cartridges was manufactured by the U.S. Cartridge Co., and the other was manufactured by the American Metallic Cartridge Company. In addition to being an extremely rare, factory inscribed cased and engraved original metallic cartridge Model 1861 Navy, this revolver, SERIAL No. 1, has the distinction of having remained in possession of the family of the original owner, Lewis Sheldon from the date of presentation, December 1, 1871, until offered for sale by the Rock Island Auction Company. The revolver is accompanied by a letter from the consignor that gives a history of Lewis Sheldon and his family.

ConditionExcellent plus. The revolver retains 95% plus original nickel and exhibits age patina associated with 140 years of storage and occasional handling. The face of the cylinder and the hammer are free from flash pitting. The engraving, barrel legend and cylinder scene are deep and crisp. The heads of the frame and hammer screws retain most of the niter blue finish. The highly figured walnut grip is in excellent plus condition with nearly all of the original "piano" finish and negligible handling marks. The plated finish has some minor flaking on the right side of the muzzle and along the edges of the ejector housing. The ejector housing and un-engraved portions of the barrel and cylinder are frosted and have some age spotting. There is dark, untouched surface corrosion present on the right side of the frame and lower edge of the recoil shield. The action functions perfectly. The case exterior is in very fine condition with scattered minor handling and storage marks. The interior is also in very fine condition. The velvet lining is bright and clean. Wear is limited to three small compression marks from the revolver muzzle, cylinder and recoil shield and two small tears in the lining on the edge of the case caused by contact with the hammer spur and front sight blade. Both of the scarce cartridge boxes are full and in excellent condition. The U.S. Cartridge Co., box has not been opened. This is both an exceptional and extraordinary example of an extremely rare presentation, factory cased and engraved serial number 1 Colt 1861/72 Cartridge revolver. This, in writer's opinion, is the finest, most significant of all Colt revolvers to come to market in the past decade!
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SHIPPING CHARGES. All shipping charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm. If Rock Island Auction (RIAC) is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.